What it means to live odorless An invisible disease with a devastating effect – Corriere.it

Loss of smell or the occurrence of olfactory dysfunctions is not uncommon. Before the arrival of the new coronavirus (loss of taste and smell, one of the first symptoms of infection), it was estimated that one in 20 people had lost their sense of smell at some point in their lives. Causes? Chronic sinusitis, damage caused by viruses (especially colds and flu), even head injuries (which can destroy or damage olfactory nerve fibers), polyps, tumors. Sometimes an early signal of diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Smell is one of our five senses, but the B series is often considered. There are glasses to treat visual impairments and hearing aids to treat hearing, but there are no remedies to restore smell and also relatively limited research. The Covid epidemic emphasized the importance of our fifth meaning, often so neglected. Many people have experienced, albeit mostly temporarily, a sense of life without smell and tasting. And perhaps this experience can help increase everyone’s empathy for those who have to live with this deficiency forever.


L ‘anosmia the complete loss of smell. L ‘iposmia partial loss of smell. Most people with anosmia can taste salty, sweet, sour and bitter substances, however it cannot distinguish specific flavors. The ability to distinguish flavors actually depends on the smell, not on the taste receptors on the tongue. Therefore, people with anosmia often complain that they have ptowards taste and not food. Loss of olfactory receptors due to aging causes reduced olfactory capacity in the elderly. The perception of taste begins to change around the age of 60 and at the same time the sense of smell decreases (and the error of olfactory receptors decreases). As the age progresses, the sensitivity threshold to sweet and salty also increases. In fact, older people tend to use more salt and more sugar.


But what does it really mean to lose the sense of smell?

To understand the problems faced by people who lose their sense of smell, a group of scientists from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, analyzed the personal stories of 71 patients who experienced anosmia. Highlighted written accounts relationship difficulties, ionly, difficulty finding help. Many of them reportedNegative and superficial attitude of doctors in this situation it is difficult to get advice or treatment.

Limits in everyday life

The inability to smell puts objective limits in everyday life: patients I can’t sense a possible gas leak or understand that a spoiled food. But smell can not only save lives, but also improve it by helping to enjoy the appetite, exploring the environment, and recalling memories. The scent of a perfume may remind a loved one, but this experience cannot be survived by someone who does not have a fifth meaning. Studies from the United States and Scandinavia show that olfactory dysfunction increases the risk of death regardless of dementia. Our research – explains the article in an interview Carl Phipott, a professor of rhinology and olfactology at the University of East Anglia, showed that anosmia caused it physical problems. Due to less enjoyment of food, some study participants explained that they had less appetite, which resulted in weight loss. Decreased perception of flavors has also led some to consume foods with low nutritional value, especially those rich in fats, salt and sugar.

Emotional aspects

Negative emotional aspects experienced by those suffering from anosmia include embarrassment, sadness, depression, worries. Volunteers talked about everyday concerns such aspersonal hygiene (they are not able to detect whether there is a smell on them), loss of intimacy to the breakdown of relationships. Some participants stated that they did not enjoy the opportunities that should be a reason to celebrate. Not to mention the inability to combine smells with happy memories, which was found to be very frustrating. Many experiences fail to enjoy and live completely, and above all, asomyism does not evoke empathy and is not well understood by those who do not suffer from it. Perhaps the coronavirus epidemic has helped draw attention to the fifth sense, although unfortunately there are still no specific treatments for permanent anosmia today.

December 6, 2020 (change December 6, 2020 | 12:56 PM)


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